Webber Wentzel > Cape Town, South Africa > Firm Profile

Webber Wentzel
15TH FLOOR, CONVENTION TOWER
HEERENGRACHT, FORESHORE
CAPE TOWN 8001
South Africa

South Africa > Banking and finance Tier 1

Webber Wentzel boasts ‘leading lawyers‘ and advises high-profile lenders, borrowers and sponsors across the entire spectrum of banking and finance matters. The team also benefits from the support of the firm’s tax, M&A and competition teams. Khurshid Fazel has particular expertise in preference share funding transactions. Johan Henning leads the firm’s financial regulatory practice which also includes the ‘knowledgeable’ Dawid de Villiers. The debt capital markets practice is led by ‘the best debt capital markets lawyer‘  Karen CouzynLindi Marais is also a core member of this team, which handles domestic and cross-border debt security transactions. Natasha Pather was promoted to partner in March 2021 and has expertise in debt finance and syndicated lending. Since publication, Muhammad Sader left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘The Webbers Banking and finance team continually (for a number of years) delivers world-class work, delivered by leading lawyers in a practical and pragmatic manner. It is extremely encouraging to see how the partners allow the junior members of the team to engage with clients, which not only assists with keeping costs down but also more importantly develops and enables the junior members of the team.’

‘The team is very commercially minded but also has a very clear understanding of the regulatory environment in which we operate. They are solutions driven and provide clear explanations and solid advice.’

‘Quality team of experienced individuals who are each very well respected in the industry. No other banking team has that breadth of experience.’

‘I have very much enjoyed working with Dawid de Villiers – he is very approachable and knowledgeable and really considers all aspect of a query when providing a response.’

‘Karen Couzyn is the best debt capital markets lawyer in the South African market’

‘Karen Couzyn is an institution in the debt capital markets in South Africa and her ability to distil complex issues into simple solvable issues in a pragmatic and efficient manner is one of the reasons she is the best DCM attorney in South Africa.’

‘Lindi Marais was very responsive and attended to our needs quickly.’

Key clients

RTT Group

FirstRand Bank

Neoma Africa Fund III LP and Bidco

Momentum Metropolitan Holdings Limited

The Noteholder Committee against the Land Bank

The Standard Bank of South Africa

Grobank

RMB and Morgan Stanley & Co. International plc

Work highlights

  • Advising various aircraft lessors, comprising almost the entire fleet of aircraft for Comair.
  • Acting for the Noteholder committee appointed to engage with The Land and Agricultural Development Bank of South Africa in relation to the restructuring of the Land Bank’s defaulted debt funding arrangements.  
  • Advised Grobank in respect of an investment by Access Bank Plc over two tranches in Grobank.

South Africa > Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 1

Webber Wentzel acts on significant M&A transactions for private and public clients, as well as bidders, targets and financial advisors, across sub-Saharan Africa. Its offering is complemented by the firm’s other strong departments such as tax, banking and finance, and competition. Ziyanda Ntshona leads the department with substantial experience in M&A and equity capital markets in South Africa, alongside Sally HuttonChristo Els and Jesse Watson. Gareth Driver is of note in the BEE space. Justin Roberts was promoted to partner, and Ayanda Mhlongo joined from Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr in January 2022, following Lilia Franca and Giada Masina who joined from the same firm in early 2021.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘The team is incredibly responsive and solutions driven.’

‘The team was incredibly dedicated to ensuring the transaction was successful.’

Key clients

Hollard Business Associates

Pioneer Food Group

Momentum Metropolitan Holdings

Northam Platinum

Omnia Holdings

Grobank

Welkom Yizani Investment

Ata Capital

Anglo American PLC

Prosus N.V.

Rand Merchant Bank

CDC Group Plc

Omnia Group

The Carlyle Group

Work highlights

  • Advising the Anglo Group in its internal reorganisation which comprised the separation of the Anglo Group’s South African thermal coal assets and business operations from the group’s remaining assets and the subsequent disposal of the Armstrong Assets.
  • Advised Northam in relation to the acceleration of the maturity and wind-up of the empowerment transaction concluded between Northam and Zambezi Platinum and the acquisition by Northam Platinum Holdings of all the shares in Northam which are listed on the JSE and a new empowerment transaction.
  • Advising each of the CSSAF Holdings I, IAPFEF JJ, the founder shareholders and management in their disposal of their entire interest in the J&J Group, comprising 100% of the issued share capital of Lift Logistics Holdco and 70% of the total issued share capital of Greendoor Group Proprietary Limited.

South Africa > Competition Tier 1

Webber Wentzel‘s strong and ‘pre-eminent‘ practice covers the full spectrum of anti-trust and competition law, including cross jurisdictional merger filings and prohibited practice mandates across Africa. Also within the team’s capacities are market inquiries, compliance reviews and dawn raid training, and it has been praised for possessing ‘deep experience and a broad understanding of regulatory requirements and expectations.’ Daryl Dingley chairs the group with the support of senior lawyers  Desmond RudmanRobert Wilson and Martin Versfeld, as well as senior associate and competition law specialist Clare-Alice Vertue.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘Webber Wentzel’s competition practice is unique in that the team possesses deep experience and a broad understanding of regulatory requirements and expectations. They are able to envisage knotty competition-related issues which may be associated with merger transactions or contractual arrangements and promptly devise solutions to those issues.

‘The team has built a strong network with firms across Africa which makes for efficient notifications and procurement of approval on cross-border deals requiring multiple notifications and competition approval. The team’s collaborative approach to work is of immense benefit to clients and helps to ensure that transaction timelines are often met. The Firm also stays up to date with developments in the competition practice in several jurisdictions thus positioning itself as a thought leader. The lawyers in Webber Wentzel’s competition practice are also very efficient and knowledgeable in their field.

‘In my view, the firm is the pre-eminent competition law practice in Africa, and is the go-to firm in South Africa for competition law, and in Africa for cross-border competition law matters.’

‘Daryl Dingley is extremely knowledgeable and resourceful and has an uncanny ability to provide answers on complex competition law issues.

‘Burton Philips is sound in his analysis of anti-trust issues associated with restrictive agreements and merger transactions. His advice is usually practical and spot on.’

‘Robert Wilson is calm in his approach and focuses on demystifying complex issues on transactions, while also diffusing tensions which sometimes arise on transactions between clients and professional parties.’

‘Andriza Liebenberg is demonstrates deep passion for her work. She was instrumental to the successful execution of merger filings on cross-border deals I have worked with her on.’

‘The partner who really stands out for us is Robert Wilson. Robert is exceptionally good at this area of law, in which he is a deep expert. He is always ready and available to assist us even on short notice. Robert is very approachable, is able to explain competition law and the economics associated with it in a simple easy to understand manner, produces outstanding and well drafted and researched opinions. Robert takes pains to understand the client and their ethos, strategy and requirements. Robert has the gravitas to present to the board and to directors but is equally able to approach and discuss the concepts with junior staff. Robert also has a very good associate Andriza Liebenberg, who has learnt from Robert and delivers outstanding work in record time. Andriza displays an exceptional attention to detail. She is always ready and eager to help.’

Key clients

JP Morgan

Standard Chartered

Bank of America

Commerzbank

Isuzu Motors

UD Trucks Corporation

Mobile Telephone Networks

Johannesburg Stock Exchange

Link Market Services South Africa

Afrique Pet Food

Philafrica Foods

Martin and Martin

Natal Portland Cement Company

GovChat

#Let’sTalk

Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa

Hollard Holdings

Naspers

Pioneer Food Group

Ascoma Assureurs Conseils

Green Vision Africa LLC

MultiChoice Group

Tongaat Hulett

Automatic Sprinkler Inspection Bureau

Belfa Solutions

Fireco

Specifire

Heineken N.V.

Work highlights

  • Advising a number of banks in an investigation by the South African Competition Commission against foreign currency traders for alleged price-fixing.
  • Advised the JSE regarding a merger in which the JSE will acquire LMS.
  • Advising Naspers regarding the Online Intermediation Platforms Market Inquiry initiated by the South African Competition Commission.

South Africa > Dispute resolution Tier 1

Priyesh Daya leads the disputes team at Webber Wentzel alongside deputy head Sarah McKenzie. The team advises clients on corporate, contractual and regulatory disputes and conducts class actions in highly regulated sectors, including banking, construction, energy, insurance, healthcare, media, mining and telecommunications. Its team has represented clients in the High Court, Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court of South Africa, as well as arbitration forums and courts in other jurisdictions. The department has a large team, including Dario Milo  who is recognisable in the media space, Trevor Versfeld who is very experienced in financial related matters, Nick Alp who is notable in the class action space and Kathryn Gawith works on professional liability cases. Julian Jones , formerly at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, and Lara Kahn  both have expertise in business rescue mandates and insolvency litigation. Insurance specialist Maria Philippides  bolstered the practice further after moving to the firm with three other partners from Norton Rose Fulbright , and Vlad Movshovich is notable in arbitrations. Previous partner turned consultant Stuart McCafferty is still active in class action cases.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘They have great depth of resources and real expertise in certain areas of the law. Different departments within the firm work together seamlessly as a well-oiled machine. They have deep and personal relationships with senior counsel who obviously respect their judgement and view, and enjoy working with them.’

‘Each senior lawyer had a vested interest in the case, was creative in their search for solutions, never shied away from hard conversations and had an unbelievable work ethic. We often had tight deadlines and the team delivered. They were approachable day or night and were on top of the issues.’

‘The dispute resolution practice at Webber Wentzel is probably one of the best teams in South Africa. The partners and associates are hands on, dedicated and responsive. They stand above their competitors.’

‘The individuals we use at Webber Wentzel are experts in their fields and are highly regarded in our industry. The legal advice received has been honest and of exceptional quality’

‘We have worked almost exclusively with Maria Philippides. She is a stand-out in the industry for her knowledge of our business, and for the practical, honest and comprehensive reporting and advice received.’

‘Dario provides excellence, never leave us out of any relevant discussion, and has been brilliant.’

‘I highly recommend Nick Alp, who is one of the brightest minds of his generation and without a doubt a top-notch litigator in South Africa. He has outstanding technical and commercial skills, is very collegial and always gives clear strategic advice throughout. His expertise covers both local litigation matters and international commercial arbitrations where he is creating a name for himself. He is a safe pair of hands on high-stakes and sensitive matters.’

‘Priyesh Daya and Garth Duncan have been an all-round great team to work with. They have a good work ethic and the most noteworthy and commendable quality amongst them is their trustworthiness.’

Key clients

Absa Bank

Anglo American South Africa

MTN Group

Deloitte and Touché South Africa

amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism

Tasima

Lancaster 101

Development Bank of South Africa

Framatome

GovChat

BCL Limited

Transnet SOC

Standard Chartered Bank

Ernst & Young Advisory Services

Absa Life

Work highlights

  • Representing Absa Bank in defending a High Court proceeding instituted by Vodacom Group Limited, in which Vodacom claims approximately R4bn from Absa pursuant to a guarantee concluded between the parties in terms of which Absa guaranteed the obligations of a subsidiary bank in Tanzania.
  • Defending Anglo American South Africa in a substantial toxic tort  class action lawsuit filed in the Johannesburg High Court on behalf of a class that could potentially exceed more than 100,000 Zambian children and women of childbearing age.
  • Represented two Deloitte auditors in disciplinary proceedings before the disciplinary committee of the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors  in a complaint of improper conduct.

South Africa > Employment Tier 1

Webber Wentzel has vast experience in employment law matters, covering occupational health and safety law through to trade union relations. The firm is valued for its sector expertise in mining, financial services, consumer and retail industries. From a Covid-19 standpoint the team has provided advice and guidance to clients on changing regulations with a focus on the implementation of mandatory vaccination policies. Lizle Louw co-heads the employment department alongside Eugene Phajane who is respected for his experience in mining matters. Kirsten Eiser is a specialised practitioner in the technology, media and telecommunications sector. Johan Olivier, Pamela Stein and Nick Robb are senior partners. Mpumelelo Nxumalo has experience in the mining sector while Nivaani Moodley is a valued partner. Jessica Braum has now left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘The team is collaborative, takes time to get to know their clients and are able to tailor services to a client. They are also available at short notice taking cognizance of urgency.’

‘Their knowledge of the workings, practices and trade unions operating within the mining industry certainly set them apart from other firms we deal with. They have a depth of knowledge within the team.’

‘They are readily available at any time and show genuine interest in the matters being dealt with. Their solutions and strategies are innovative when required and have assisted in getting great outcomes while maintaining relationships with our trade union stakeholders.’

‘I dealt almost exclusively with Nick Robb who is a partner and I found him to be incredible.’

‘The team is diverse, with different levels of experience, expertise and is thus able to provide the appropriate level of assistance. The firm is also able to provide an all inclusive service as labour law can not be applied in isolation for example mine health and safety law, tax law and pension law. The billing is easy to understand and to reconcile work done.’

‘Lizle Louw and her availability after hours and over weekends is commendable. She understands mining and her industry experience adds value to advice that she is able to provide. Mehnaaz Bux is extremely hardworking and takes the time to understand the problem statement and explain the legal principles applied. Siya Ngcamu is professional and has a quick turn around time while Johan Olivier is well experienced in the gold mining industry. Joon Chong knows her subject well and is willing to assist on very short notice.’

‘Very agile, highly supportive team able to align short business timelines with a great level of competence and provide clients with relevant information to enable an informed business decision making. Very professional but on the overhand are very pleasant.’

Key clients

Palabora Mining Company

Lebalelo Water Users Association

Ivanhoe Mines Limited

Rustenburg Platinum Mines Limited

Impala Platinum Limited

Marula Platinum Limited

Northam Platinum Limited

Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited

Village Main Reef Limited

South African Airways Pilots Association

Ferrero South Africa (Pty) Ltd

Northam Platinum Limited

Royal Bafokeng Platinum Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Royal Bafokeng Platinum in a landmark Constitutional Court case concerning the principle of majoritarianism in collective labour law in South Africa.
  • Advised the South African Pilots Association throughout the business rescue proceedings at South African Airways.
  • Represented a number of mining houses in a landmark secondary strike case organised by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union.

South Africa > Investment funds Tier 1

Webber Wentzel‘s well-established investment funds group linked with the firm’s leading M&A, tax and finance departments. The team is highly adept at fund formation in South Africa and Africa more broadly, and its impressive client roster includes local and international private equity and venture capital houses.  Nicole Paige  leads the team, and her ‘depth of experience‘ is praised as ‘industry leading.’ Ashford Nyatsumba  and Michael Denenga are also core members of the team.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘Compares very well to other teams. A diligent, creative and responsive team.’

‘They are invested in our success and understand us as clients.’

‘We have used Webber Wentzel for a number of pan-African and South African mandates; the Webber Wentzel team are able to consider the requirements of the mandates and propose a specific structure which addresses our exact needs.’

‘The team, led by Nicole Page, is diverse in gender and race, and provides excellent collaboration across legal, tax and regulatory practices to be able to deliver a truly multi-disciplinary service to clients.’

‘The depth of experience from Nicole Page is definitely industry leading, and together with Brian Dennehy, Webbers are able to provide holistic fund structuring and tax structuring advice. Their experience from structuring and negotiating fund agreements across many of the leading African fund managers and investors provides in depth and up-to-date technology and negotiation insights which few others in the local market can match.’

Key clients

Ethos Private Equity

Adiwale Capital

Metier Group

ARCH Emerging Markets Partners

South Suez Africa

Alterra Capital

Capitalworks

Convergence Partners

Vantage Capital

Work highlights

  • Advising the sponsors relative to the establishment and subsequent closings of the ARCH Cold Chain Solutions East Africa Fund, a fund established to invest in opportunities in the temperature-controlled supply chains in East Africa.
  • Advising Mahlako Financial services in establishing the Mahlako Energy Fund I Partnership which is mandated to make long-term equity, quasi-equity and equity-related Investments in a diversified portfolio of projects and businesses in the energy value chain focusing on renewable energy, gas and energy services.
  • Advising Ethos in assuming the management of Ninety One Africa’s Private Equity Funds.

South Africa > Mining Tier 1

At Webber Wentzel, the mining department forms a core part of the firm’s offering, with a large team of dedicated lawyers who spend a significant amount of time focused on the mining sector. Praised for its ‘deep mining-specific knowledge’, the practice is highly experienced across the entire mining lifecycle, including on M&A, regulatory issues, employment matters, and health and safety investigations. Additionally, it is increasingly active in ESG matters regarding the support of mining communities. The team is led by Jonathan Veeran and Rita Spalding in Johannesburg, supported by transactional specialist Manus Booysen, health and safety expert Kate Collier, and Bruce Dickinson, who is praised by clients as an ‘experienced, commercially minded lawyer.’  The team also underwent expansion with the addition of regulatory expert Giada Masina, and Lilia Franca, in February 2021.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘The team has a depth of expertise in their field and takes the time to understand the legal and commercial issues to give a good overall offering.’

‘The turnaround is always on time and the professionals concerned are always available.’

‘Notwithstanding that one is dealing with one of the largest law firms in the country, you are left feeling that the service given is intensely personalised to your company’s needs.’

‘The mining team has a diverse skill set, and I would not hesitate to use them for anything ranging from listings to discrete regulatory advice.’

‘The team’s strength lies in its deep mining specific knowledge – regulatory, commercial, and environmental, and the fact that it can rely on the greater Webber Wentzel ecosystem (particularly the projects and finance teams).’

‘The team is well plugged into the key issues and is incredibly responsive. The collaboration was exceptional within the mining team but also across the whole legal team.’

‘Huge amount of dedication and approachability.’

‘Bruce Dickinson is an experienced, commercially minded lawyer. Bruce’s value is that he is immensely practical, strategic and commercial. He marshals his team well, and he will deliver a client and value-focused outcome. I have no hesitation in recommending Bruce.’

Key clients

Africoal

Afrimat

Anglo American

Assore

Bauba Resources

Bushveld Minerals

Exxaro Resources

Fraser Alexander

Glencore

Gold Fields

Harmony Gold

Impala Platinum

Ivanplats

Khoemacau Copper Mining

Northam Platinum

Palabora Copper

Rio Tinto

Royal Bafokeng Platinum

SAIL Group

Sasol Mining

SepFluor

Sibanye-Stillwater

Siyanda Resources

TGME

Tshipi é Ntle Manganese Mining

Universal Coal

Vedanta Resources

Vergenoeg

Work highlights

  • Advised Anglo American in its internal reorganisation including the separation of Anglo Group’s South African “thermal coal” assets and business operations from the group’s remaining assets and subsequent disposal of the Armstrong Assets.
  • Advised Northam in relation to its intention to accelerate the maturity and wind-up of the empowerment transaction concluded between Northam and Zambezi Platinum Limited, and concluded a proposed extended empowerment transaction with an emphasis on participation by Northam group employees and host and affected communities, incorporating the acquisition by Northam Platinum Holdings Limited of all the shares in Northam.
  • Advised Africoal in relation to the negotiation, drafting and signature of a Contract Mining and Toll Washing Agreement with New Largo Coal.

South Africa > Shipping and transport Tier 1

Webber Wentzel is one of South Africa’s most reputable shipping practices, advising on both wet and dry matters. The team’s breadth of expertise spans shipping litigation, marine casualty handling, arrests and enforcement of maritime claims. The firm also provides asset finance and regulatory compliance advice to clients in the aviation, rail and road sectors.  Andre Bowley is a highly experienced maritime lawyer as is Gavin Fitzmaurice who is it at the forefront of maritime litigation. Scott Edmundson has expertise in asset financing within the transport sectors and Patrick Holloway is also an experienced maritime litigator.

Testimonials

‘Webber Wentzel’s shipping team adopts a hands-on and pragmatic approach, combining considerable legal and industry knowledge to provide clients with a high standard of service.’

‘Gavin Fitzmaurice is thorough, responsive and consistently provides sound advice and practical solutions.’

‘An excellent team led by amazing managing partner Gavin Fitzmaurice. They are simply the best in their fields. They are very responsive and very user friendly. As soon as I have a problem in South Africa, I would call them to ensure they are not conflicted. They can solve any problem promptly. It is such a delight to work with such a diverse team including extraordinary individuals at all levels.’

‘Patrick is an excellent lawyer who has vast experience in the field. He is very well respected in the industry and he is very commercial. He is hard working and understands how the clients works. He works hard to find the best solution for the clients. He can even make the most difficult clients happy with his creative solutions and commercial thinking. I would say to the clients “go and get him before your opponent instructs him.”’

‘Very good and practical advice. Very pleasant lawyers to work with who have a problem solving mindset. The pricing is fair and in accordance with market standards.’

‘Neerasha Singh is a very skilled and good lawyer. She is excellent in providing the advice and answers one is looking for. A very friendly and practical person. She is a pleasure to work with.’

‘One of the best maritime firms in South Africa – would always be my first port of call.’

‘Andre Bowley is excellent. He is an extremely able lawyer and also creative and commercial which is crucial.’

Key clients

Transnet National Ports Authority

Wilmar South Africa (Pty)

Marsh Africa (Pty) Ltd

Union Bank of India (UK) Limited

RS Bulk Limited

MS First Capital Insurance Limited

Atakas Ticaret Ve Nakliyat AS

Karpowership International

Hayfin Services LLP

African Rail Industry Association

Durban Coal Terminal Company (Pty) Ltd

Pequod Associates

Work highlights

  • Represented TNPA to defend the largest maritime claim in South Africa’s legal history arising out of the grounding and total loss of the cape-size bulk carrier mv “Smart” which ran aground whilst departing from the port of Richards Bay.
  • Represented Wilmar South Africa (Pty) Ltd in relation to claims for the theft of soya beans under a marine cargo insurance policy entered with Lion of Africa Insurance Company Limited.
  • Advised TNPA in relation to a claim by the owners of the vessel “CMA CGM SAMSON” for damages to the vessel and in relation to a recovery action on behalf of TNPA for damages caused by the vessel to the port’s breakwater.

South Africa > Tax Tier 1

The multi-disciplinary team at Webber Wentzel, praised as a ‘leading law firm in South Africa‘, has an impressive pan-African tax offering. The group confidently handles corporate tax matters, transfer pricing, exchange control, tax-related dispute resolution and international tax mandates. Accountant and corporate tax expert Brian Dennehy  heads up the department with the support of deputy head and chartered accountant Graham Viljoen, whose strengths include private equity-related transactions. Anne Bennett is skilled in major cross-border transactions and Nina Keyser is a reputed tax litigation lawyer in the department. Kyle Beilings is known for high-profile transactions and partner Lumen Moolman continues to play a central role within the tax team.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘The team thinks out of the box when proposing solutions to client problems. They assisted our Group with VAT advice and to provide us with the correct opinion and treatment of VAT on our products, they contacted the content partner’s counsel in the USA to understand the product form.’

‘The team brings not only very strong technical capabilities to the table. There is an understanding of the business and in advising on matters, the practical and operational aspects are considered, and where needed a pragmatic approach is undertaken in solving something. I find the team to be very flexible where facts / plans change and urgent updates are required, there is always a commitment to delivering a high-quality service. For larger projects the team has proved critical in the successful outcome, with great care to detail and communicating to larger project teams.’

‘The tax team at Webber Wentzel is experienced in advising private equity transactions. The team is commercially strong and takes a holistic approach to providing structuring advice.’

‘Leading law firm in South Africa with an excellent reputation due to the their track record of exceptional service.’

‘Interacting with Webber Wentzel has given us the confidence that we are compliant in all aspects of legislation in RSA.’

‘We were delighted to get very clear and firm advice from the partner Chetan Vanmali. He understood the peculiarities of our process and business and was able to provide appropriate advice.’

‘I deal with Chetan Vanmali when VAT advice is needed. He is an expert in their field, knowledgeable but also willing to listen to his clients.’

‘The individuals are technically very strong, and it translates into opinions of the highest quality and sound arguments. Shirleen Ritchie has shown qualities of collaboration and teamwork and solutionist thinking, which is something that not all advisors bring to the table. Her ability to solve complex problems and build arguments is something that has proven to be very valuable.’

Key clients

Actis

Omnia

Assore

Anglo American

Kasada Capital Management

Old Mutual

MultiChoice

Naspers

MTN

Stanlib

Work highlights

  • Advising Actis on its acquisition of an interest in Octotel and RSAWeb.
  • Advising Villa Holdings on its proposed merger with Intelichem.
  • Advising Vunani Capital with tax structuring advice to facilitate the internal reorganisation of the Private Equity Assets under a newly formed company called Vunani Capital Partners in anticipating of unbundling of Vunani Capital Partners.

South Africa > Construction Tier 2

The construction team at Webber Wentzel handles the entire life cycle of projects spanning across Sub-Saharan Africa. Mining capital projects are a core area of strength for the group, as well as representing infrastructure clients, such as concessionaires, contractors and consulting engineers. In addition, energy-related mandates and oil and gas engagements are increasing areas of focus for the group. Tyron Theessen leads the team and Sarah McKenzie is also of note in the disputes space. Alessandra Pardini left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Their depth and breadth of their knowledge and experience is unsurpassed.’

‘Through their in-depth knowledge they are on the cutting edge of the construction law which leads to innovative ideas and pragmatic solutions.’

‘Billing is as per our SLA and delivered on time and supported by comprehensive billing narratives.’

‘Webber Wentzel’s IT and technology availability is world class.’

‘Collaborative, empathetic, supportive yet when leadership is required they are not shy to express their views.’

‘Solid professional delivery of the service, on time and on budget.’

‘The team provides a professional service, high quality advice and is always available to assist in any matter. The team demonstrates an understanding on how the construction sector operates and its main challenges.’

‘Tyron Theessen is not only pleasant to work with, but is also very knowledgeable on how construction and renewable energies sector in South Africa operates. He is keen to assist, showing commitment and taking fully responsibility for all legal issues. He is always very professional, intellectually rigorous (as required for complex construction law matters) and approachable.’

Key clients

Khoemacau Copper Mining

Oil Tanking Mogs Saldanha

Nordex Energy

Astron Energy

Framatome

Rejem Linton Netcare JV

Anglo American

Green Hydrogen Project

Valley Irrigation SA

Valmont Irrigation of Southern Africa

Nordex Energy South African

Windlab

Work highlights

  • Advising Khoemacau on the development of its underground mining operations, the transmission line infrastructure required to supply power to the mine, an alternative power supply solution including renewable energy, a laboratory for testing of ore, and its tailing storage facility.  
  • AdvisedFramatome and Eskom Holdings SOC on entering a contract for the design, manufacture, transportation, installation and commissioning of six replacement steam generators worth almost ZAR 5bn.
  • Acting for both OTMS and Astron on the development of a connecting pipeline and related infrastructure to tie-in Astron’s refinery to OTMS’ crude oil storage facility in Saldanha Bay.

South Africa > Intellectual property Tier 2

Webber Wentzel advises on the full spectrum of IP services from disputes to M&A issues and portfolio management. It has expertise in a range of sectors including healthcare, technology, agribusiness and transport. Leanne Mostert leads the practice group and is a leading expert in IP exchange control matters. Bernadette Versfeld has extensive litigation expertise and Tim Ball brings significant experience in acting for generic pharmaceutical companies. Christoff Pienaar was a new arrival in April 2022.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘Webber Wentzel provides reliable and efficient advice.’

‘Bernadette Versfeld and her team are dynamic, approachable and efficient.’

‘They are always polite and available to their clients.’

‘Extreme professionalism.’

‘Very presentable and practical advice.’

‘Depth of knowledge, not just in SA but internationally when it comes to navigating trademark applications.’

Key clients

Anglo American

Actis Capital LLP

Ernst & Young

Spectrum Security Products (Pty) Ltd

Paradox Security Systems Limited

Kenza Health (Pty) Ltd

Macsteel Services Centre (Pty) Ltd

Tourvest Holdings Ltd

Grohe AG

Snapt Systems (Pty) Ltd

Lixil Corporation and Lixil Africa

Work highlights

  • Advised Anglo American on its internal reorganisation which comprised the separation of the Anglo Group’s South African “thermal coal” assets and business operations from the group’s remaining assets and the subsequent disposal of the Armstrong Assets.
  • Advised Actis group on two high-value transactions: its acquisition of the entire share capital of Octotel Proprietary Limited for ZAR 2.3 billion and its acquisition of a significant minority stake in RSAWeb Proprietary Limited.
  • Assisted Lixil Africa’s shareholders, Lixil Corporation (Japan) with regards to the protection of its brands in Africa and Grohe AG (Germany) in relation to the protection of its designs in South Africa and Kenya.

South Africa > Projects and infrastructure Tier 2

Webber Wentzel‘s young projects practice is involved in a number of projects concerning new electricity capacity, and has acted for the private sector and government bodies in a range of tenders. Also of note is the team’s appointment as the sole legal advisor to the IPP Office on the Risk Mitigation IPP Procurement Programme. Jason van der Poel is head of the practice and is of note in the energy sector.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘Good knowledge and professional expertise.’

‘The individuals stand out for their dedication, attention and personalised treatment to the client.’

‘I have found the firm to be accommodating and flexible with regards to fees.’

‘The Webber Wentzel team is well coordinated which allows clients to seamlessly access different specialties and expertise with great efficiency.’

‘Good transformed team with dedicated team members.’

‘Excellent turnaround times, overseas style of giving advice, deep knowledge in all matters concerning projects.’

‘Jason van der Poel is extremely responsive and has a flexible approach to providing the required legal solutions.’

Key clients

Lebalelo Water User Association

Solar Saver SA Proprietary

Sola Build

Lenders

Sturdee Energy

Uganda National Oil Company

Metier Investment and Advisory Services

Development Bank of Southern Africa

Work highlights

  • Advising the Lebalelo Water User Association in relation to the terms of the South African Water Services Act to supply its members, constituting various platinum mining companies in an area of South Africa called the Eastern Limb with bulk raw water services.
  • Advising the lenders in respect of the design, development, engineering, procurement, construction, financing, insuring and start-up of the 100 MW ACWA Power SolarReserve Redstone Concentrated Solar Power tower facility project.
  • Advising UNOC in respect of the procurement of a private sector joint venture partner to develop and operate a refined products terminal in Kampala, Uganda.

South Africa > Real estate Tier 2

Sulani Jooste leads the real estate department in Cape Town at Webber Wentzel, whilst Mark McIntosh leads the Johannesburg practice group. The firm has a wide-ranging client roster, from individuals to developers, and multi-national corporates to private and institutional investors, ranging across industries such as retail, energy, construction, mining and hospitality and leisure. The team’s offering spans the entire real estate life cycle, including acquisition, development, financing, letting and disposal. In team development news, Venashrie Mannar has been promoted to partner.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘The team provides value-added service. They apply themselves to each instruction and treat each case individually enough to provide additional advice in collaboration with other experts in the firm to provide the best value for clients. We can trust that we are receiving sound counsel.’

‘The individuals I have worked with focus on building relationships with us as their client and ensure we are kept updated consistently on instructions. The level of professionalism and the desire to add value is appreciated.’

‘The team is very knowledgable and experienced in real estate matters. The depth of experience in Sectional Title Act issues, conveyancing and property law makes them dependable.’

‘Mark McIntosh has a good depth of knowledge and experience. Very professional and great people skills.

‘Venashrie Mannar is persistent and experienced.’

Key clients

Investec Bank

Anglo Operations South Africa

2Degrees Properties

Peermont Global

Redefine Properties

Rustenburg Platinum Mines

AECI

Absa Bank

Hosken Consolidated Investments

Work highlights

  • Advised ABSA Bank Limited on the drafting and registration of all loan and bond documents required for the acquisition of a shopping mall by Amrichprop 2 Properties and Amrichprop 8 Properties.
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The firm: Founded in 1868, Webber Wentzel is a leading full-service law firm providing clients with innovative solutions to their most complex legal and tax issues across Sub-Saharan Africa. With over 450 lawyers, their multi-disciplinary expertise is consistently ranked top-tier in leading directories and awards, both in South Africa and on the African continent. Their collaborative alliance with Linklaters and their deep relationships with outstanding law firms across Africa provide clients with market-leading support wherever they do business. Webber Wentzel was named South Africa Law Firm of the Year at the Chambers Africa Awards 2022.

Webber Wentzel’s purpose is to have a transformative and sustainable impact through our work and actions. They believe in making a positive contribution to the communities in which they work and are proud to call themselves home to one of South Africa’s most long-standing, dedicated pro-bono practices. They are committed to promoting access to justice for all South Africans, upholding the Constitution and protecting the rule of law. Their Corporate Social Investment initiatives also focus on supporting initiatives and projects that promote access to justice, education and access to education and socio-economic development.

As a firm, they are committed to transformation and diversity.  They are an accredited Level 1 broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) contributor and are engaged in a number of initiatives aimed at driving transformation and inclusivity within their organisation, the legal sector and society.

DepartmentNameEmailTelephone
Administrative law Prelisha Singhprelisha.singh@webberwentzel.com+27115305419
Banking and finance Khurshid Fazelkhurshid.fazel@webberwentzel.com+27115305587
Business rescue and restructuring Khurshid Fazelkhurshid.fazel@webberwentzel.com+27115305587
Capital markets Jesse Watsonjesse.watson@webberwentzel.com+27115305811
Competition Daryl Dingleydaryl.dingley@webberwentzel.com+27115305285
Corporate/M&A Ziyanda Ntshonaziyanda.ntshona@webberwentzel.com+27115305823
Corporate investigations Nick Alpnick.alp@webberwentzel.com+27115305339
Dispute resolution Priyesh Dayapriyesh.daya@webberwentzel.com+27115305358
Employment Eugene Phajaneeugene.phajane@webberwentzel.com+27115304260
Intellectual property Leanne Mostertleanne.mostert@webberwentzel.com+27214317344
International arbitration Nick Alpnick.alp@webberwentzel.com+27115305339
Investment funds Nicole Paigenicole.paige@webberwentzel.com+27115305857
IT and telecommunications Peter Grealypeter.grealy@webberwentzel.com+27115305218
Media and broadcasting Peter Grealypeter.grealy@webberwentzel.com+27115305218
Private equity Nicole Paigenicole.paige@webberwentzel.com+27115305857
Projects Jason van der Poeljason.vanderpoel@webberwentzel.com+27115305201
Real estate Sulani Joostesulani.jooste@webberwentzel.com+27214317184
Regulatory (including financial) Zelda Swanepoelzelda.swanepoel@webberwentzel.com+27115302593
Tax Brian Dennehybrian.dennehy@webberwentzel.com+27115305998
Transfer pricing Anne Bennettanne.bennett@webberwentzel.com+27115305886
Number of lawyers : 450+
English (fluent)
Dutch
French
German
Portugese
Afrikaans
Contacts : Christo Els (senior partner)
Contacts : Sally Hutton (managing partner)

Webber Wentzel’s stated purpose is “to have a transformative and sustainable impact through our work and actions”. Webber Wentzel’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is central to this. Diverse teams make more robust and creative business decisions which contribute to better business results.

Pro Bono:

The firm’s pro bono strategy aims to narrow the divide between the advantaged and disadvantaged members of South African society through a focus on rule of law, access to justice, anti-corruption and the alleviation of poverty and inequality. During 2021, the firm spent over 17,318 hours on pro bono related matters, valued at approximately ZAR 49,7 million. Much of the work they do already creates a transformative and sustainable impact in Africa through its pro bono work, ESG-related mandates, and some of the organisations they support. Through establishing a dedicated team, they have been able to assist on many key and ground-breaking matters which have required extensive resources and made a truly significant impact to the lives of many South Africans.

The Pro Bono team provides essential legal services to individuals and communities on a number of important issues including:

  • Equality, dignity and non-discrimination
  • Administrative law
  • Anti-corruption and protection of whistleblowers
  • Land reform and housing
  • Delictual litigation and dispute resolution
  • Traditional authorities

Webber Wentzel’s dedication to pro bono was acknowledged in 2021 when Webber Wentzel was awarded Environmental, Social and Governance Initiative of the Year at the 2021 African Legal Awards for its work in supporting the government to minimise the impact of COVID-19 in South Africa. The judges said that the entry “demonstrated strong teamwork and the value and relevance of sound legal support to innovation and emergency responses which are critical to our times”. The award related to Webber Wentzel’s pro bono work for Business for South Africa in managing the private sector’s response to the pandemic, helping to kickstart and manage the National Ventilator Project and supporting the National Department of Health on all contractual matters relating to the vaccines and all regulatory aspects of its vaccination programme.

CSI:

While one of the objectives of the firm’s Pro Bono Department is to facilitate greater access to justice by addressing systemic issues, these matters generally take a long time to process through the South Africa court system. Webber Wentzel’s CSI Programme supports structures and organisations that work more closely with people’s everyday problems and attempt to secure their access to justice on an individual basis, and in a more immediate way. Corporate South Africa also has a responsibility to lean in and lead during times of crisis. Last year, during the protests and looting in our country and the destruction of several buildings in the Cape Town fire, Webber Wentzel was able to channel its resources quickly and do its part to help. It is equally important to ensure employee engagement and to motivate the younger generation to improve society and contribute towards its sustainable development. The Webber Wentzel Leadership Network (WWLN) is an initiative driven by young professionals within Webber Wentzel that aims to reinforce the firm’s dedication to the future of South Africa by creating a platform to inspire, educate and support the development of leaders. They organise various CSI initiatives every year and make a difference.


Webber Wentzel’s clients are increasingly looking at broader strategies, issues and opportunities for growth – either as part of a strategy to enter mature markets or emerging markets. Webber Wentzel offers its clients leading legal, regulatory and tax support, across multiple jurisdictions and sectors, combined with local language capabilities. The firm does this through working independently, or with leading global law firm, Linklaters, and with a network of relationship firms across Africa – ensuring a seamless client experience.


  • DP World in its proposed acquisition of JSE-listed Imperial Logistics by way of a scheme of arrangement for an aggregate consideration of c.ZAR 12.7 billion.
  • Transnet National Ports Authority in defending claims (estimated to be in excess of USD 200 million) arising out of the grounding and total loss of the cape-size bulk carrier MV “Smart”.
  • Lebalelo Water User Association in considering the construction, regulatory and financing options for undertaking the extended ZAR 3 billion dam and pipeline infrastructure project.
  • Northam Platinum on one of the largest BEE transactions in the South African mining sector and its acquisition of 32.8% interest in Royal Bafokeng.
  • My Octopus Teacher, the Best Documentary Feature winner at the 93rd Academy Awards.
  • Anglo American on its internal reorganisation including the separation of Anglo Group’s South African “thermal coal” assets and business operations from the group’s remaining assets and subsequent demerger and listing of those assets on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange.
  • A major global broker in South Africa on its placement of assets insurance and the response of those policies following the July 2021 riots in South Africa.
  • amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism in a successful constitutional challenge to aspects of the surveillance laws in South Africa.
  • FirstRand Bank (acting through its Rand Merchant Bank division) in the landmark structured ZAR 8.45 billion sustainability-linked loan for Mediclinic South Africa. This is the first syndicated loan arranged by an African bank, and the largest sustainability-linked loan to date in Africa.
  • Sasol South Africa in relation to bids for the design, finance, construct, operate, maintain and own Solar Photo-Voltaic (PV) facilities and their associated connection infrastructure to supply 10MW of power to Sasol’s Secunda facilities and another 10MW of power to Sasol’s Sasolburg facilities.
  • Grobank (to be renamed as Access Bank (South Africa) in respect of an investment by Access Bank Plc (a major commercial bank registered in Nigeria) over two tranches in Grobank.
  • JSE in respect of the establishment of a new clearing house specifically dedicated to the clearing of over-the counter derivative transactions, which will be the first clearing house of its kind in South Africa.
  • Pioneer Foods in respect of PepsiCo’s indirect acquisition of Pioneer Foods – the merger was approved subject to several public interest commitments, including the implementation of an employee incentive scheme for the benefit of PepsiCo’s South African employees. Post-merger PepsiCo appointed us to assist with various disposals and to implement the agreed public interest commitments. This included the establishment of a South African Trust to hold foreign equity. A first of its kind in South Africa.
  • CDC, the UK’s development finance institution and one of the largest impact investors in Africa, in relation to some competition aspects of its USD 36 million investment into Divercity Urban Property Fund.
  • The sponsors relative to the establishment and subsequent closings of the ARCH Cold Chain Solutions East Africa Fund, a fund established to invest in opportunities in the temperature-controlled supply chains in East Africa, comprising storage, distribution and related services.
  • Actis on its acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Octotel for ZAR 2,3 billion as well as a significant minority stake in RSAWeb.
  • Liberty Holdings during the acquisition by Standard Bank of its entire issued share capital.
  • Prosus in its acquisition of a 49% interest in Naspers through the implementation of a capital restructure.
  • Northam Platinum with the acceleration of the maturity and wind up of its 2015 empowerment transaction with Zambezi Platinum, and the implementation of an extended BEE transaction.